Speaking, listening, reading and writing are four necessary skills. Speaking is one of the primary skill in communication. Fries says that speech is the most important aim in language teaching. In our schools and colleges stress is laid on reading. This is just to put a cart before a horse. With proper practice, you can improve your speech. Its only self-sufficient skill. This guide can help you if you are looking to improve your speaking skills in English or any other language.
According to Don Byrne, “Speaking is the ability to express oneself intelligibly, reasonably, accurately and without hesitation”.
The Importance of Speaking Skills
A good speaker in different types of speaking can
- Produce the particular English speech sounds and sound patterns, both in isolation and in combination;
- Use appropriate stress and intonation patterns;
- Use appropriate words and structures to express the intended meaning;
- Recall words and structures quickly;
- Organize his thoughts and ideas in logical sequence;
- Adjust his speech according to his audience, situation and subject matter.
Why You Need to Improve Skills? The Purposes of Speaking
Generally there are three purposes of speech:
- To inform or instruct
- To persuade
- To entertain
To Inform or Instruct
Here the basic goal is to inform and explain a process. Your teacher most often makes a speech to inform. At the end of conversation, the speaker hopes that the listeners have understood the issue, idea or process.
To Persuade Audiences
Here the goal is to make listeners willing to accept the proposal or claim. And the speaker hopes that the listeners will do as they ask them to do. Its example is an advertisement.
To Entertain Listeners
Sometimes people speak to entertain. On social occasions such as promotion parties, anniversaries, wedding, this form of oral communication is used.
Types of Barriers in Speaking
For speaking effectively one should try to overcome these barriers with the help of practice and patience. All humans are equal by physical properties and mental abilities. It is just everyone’s personal struggle to boost a specific thing. Let say, some people are good in math but bad in business; on the other hand most of the good businessman are unable to solve simple math formula.
Lack of Confidence
The speaker feels hesitation and shyness while speaking. He cannot face the audience due to lack of confidence.
False Approach to Teaching
In our schools and colleges, much emphasis is given to reading and writing. Listening and speaking are neglected in our education system. In addition to, Grammar Translation Method is used to teach English. The students do not get chance to learn spoken English.
Lack of vocabulary is also a hindrance in speech. The speakers have less educated background. They are surrounded by less exposed people. They do not get chance to enhance their vocabulary. Therefore, they feel themselves incompetent.
English is taught as a second language in many countries. The speakers feel difficulty in learning correct pronunciation. They do not find native speakers to learn correct pronunciation. So, false pronunciation also becomes a hindrance.
Speaking becomes a fearful thing before an audience. Signs of discomfort are universally experienced. The heart rate increases, blood pressure and body temperature rise, mouth becomes dry, voice trembles etc.
Best 7 Techniques & Strategies Used to Improve Speaking Skills
We can not neglect vital role of communication skills in business life, here are the 7 following techniques are suggested to improve and master the speaking skill.
Boost with Oral Exercises
In the classroom oral exercises are used to develop oral skills. The students should be given sufficient opportunities to express themselves in general conversation. The subject of conversation must be chosen carefully from the real life experiences of the students.
Pair Work and Group work
By skillful use of pair work and group work, the teacher can provide the students opportunity to speak together and practice oral skills to develop fluency and accuracy in speech.
Try Dialogue to Improve
One of the most versatile techniques of language is the dialogue. A dialogue is a talk or conversation between two people. In the classroom, the students can do dialogue practice by asking about the likes or dislikes, family members, hobbies etc of their classmates.
Enacting pieces of communicative interaction in the classroom is a popular modern language teaching technique. This activity provides the students opportunities to use language directly and purposefully. Thus they shed their fear of addressing the people.
Chain story exercises should be practiced at the developed level, as they require quick response from the learners. The teacher begins a story by making a statement and the students add to it new sentences turn by turn. For example;
Teacher : There was a boy.
Student 1 : He was passing through the forest.
Student 2 : Suddenly he saw a lion.
The development of chain story becomes easier if it is based on the knowledge and experiences of the learners.
Information Gap Exercise
Information gap is a sort of dialogue. It is more meaningful and communicative. In this exercise, a person has some information that the other does not have. This shows an information gap. To fill this gap, one person asks questions and the other answers the questions. Its example is crucial test.
Presentations would Help
Oral presentations help learners to develop their oral skills. The teacher assigns presentations to the students. One student gives presentation while the others listen to him carefully. After presentation, the listeners discuss the strengths and the weaknesses of the speaker. In this way, they get accustomed to speak in front of the audience.
Adding 7 Cs of Effective communication in your speech would enable you to design right verbal message to result you the desired outcome. Not every message is effective but result oriented messages brings result. Practice, Practice and Practice to improve your speaking skill.